Where can I buy a new mobile home that is only a shell, so I can finish the interior myself?
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
A finish-it-yourself home was easy to find at Jim Walter Homes for many years, beginning in the 1950s. You provided the lot and could choose what phase of completion you wanted, from only the exterior walls and roof, with an empty interior, all the way up to fully decked out and ready to move in, with several levels in-between. If you owned your lot free-and-clear, they would give you a no-down-payment mortgage. We owned one for several years that we purchased from the original owner, but dreamed of buying a new “Islander” model (shown above) one day. It’s a sweet little 2-bedroom, 1-bath, on stilts with a pair of sliding glass doors opening onto a big porch. The Islander was a great lakefront vacation house and incredibly reasonably priced, if you were willing to accept what they called the “75% complete” shell and finish it yourself.
Unfortunately, Jim Walter is now gone, a victim of the building bust and foreclosure party of 10-years ago. There are still companies around that will provide the same type of shell kit built on your lot, but they are stick-built. Because manufactured homes are built under a nationwide building code administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), they must be constructed to meet extensive safety and livability standards, and are essentially required to be delivered ready to occupy. A mobile home manufacturer could not get HUD approval to deliver a shell mobile home.
Also, see our blog post Can I convert a shipping container into a HUD-code manufactured/mobile home?
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